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Trafficked 3-Year-Old Child Re-Unites With Mother

A three year-old child has been re-united with his mother after she was trafficked to South Africa by her father and grandmother.

The three year-old child was separated from her mother Charlene Gugulethu Moyo in December 2022 after her grandmother Clara Ndlovu asked Moyo to allow her grandchild to visit her home in Bulawayo and spend time with her during the festive season under the agreement that the minor would be returned home towards the opening of schools in January 2023.

However, Moyo’s child was not returned and instead the mother received a picture from some of Ndlovu’s relatives with information that the child was spending the festive season in South Africa.

Alarmed that her daughter was undocumented and did not have any travel documents such as a passport to allow entry into South Africa and that as her biological mother, she never signed the internationally required affidavit that she was consenting to her child travelling beyond Zimbabwe’s borders, Moyo filed a report at Pumula Police Station in Bulawayo about her missing three year-old child.

An aggrieved Moyo then engaged Prisca Dube and Jabulani Mhlanga of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), who on 1 February 2023 contacted Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officers at Pumula Police Station to check on why they had refused to open a docket for the contravention of the Trafficking in Persons Act against Ndlovu and the child’s father.

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On 2 February 2023, Dube and Mhlanga told police officers at Pumula Police Station that in terms of the Trafficking in Persons Act, an offence had been committed and thus a docket should be opened to enable the minor child to be brought back to Zimbabwe.

As this was happening, the father of the child reportedly demanded that Moyo should pay a certain cross-border vehicle driver ZAR1 000 to facilitate the return of her child and this information was relayed to ZRP officers.

ZRP officers later requested to be furnished with the minor child’s birth certificate and her clear photograph, which they advised would be send to International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL) to be assisted in South Africa in getting the minor child back to Zimbabwe.

On Wednesday 1 March 2023, ZLHR ended Moyo’s misery as she was reunited with her child, who was handed to her by police officers from Pumula Police Station after the child’s father and Ndlovu brought her back from South Africa following the intervention of ZLHR, which exposed the child trafficking case and brought it to the attention of ZRP officers based at Pumula Police Station.

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